Costa Rica's Capitol

Trip Start Sep 23, 2010
Trip End Jul 13, 2012

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of San Jose,
Thursday, May 3, 2012

Thurs 3rd May cont.
It was a rather full bus and got rather sticky at times but as we climbed into the mountains it got much nicer. Now this was supposed to be the express bus, but as we´ve come to learn there´s no such thing as express here, they stop for everyone. While we were up in the mountains, the traffic had to stop due to an accident involving a truck and a car down the hill on a nasty corner. Both parties were ok but for some reason no one wanted to move the easily movable car until a tow truck arrived. There were enough people around that could have moved it! Half an hour or so later and we were on our way and arrived into San Jose around 6.30pm. We then jumped into a cab to the hostel we´d booked, checked in, got some milk from the shop, made dinner and then settled in for the night.

Fri 4th May.

Got up at 8am, had breakfast and then walked into the centre past the new stadium and via Parque Metropolitano La Sabana. On the way we looked at La Merced and then the cathedral. To be honest, it's not the best looking cathedral we've seen, (rather plain looking on the outside), but La Merced was nice though. From there we walked past the Teatro Nacional and up to Parque Morazan which is one of many parks in the city and has a very grand looking school next to it. Continuing on we noticed a bit of a traffic jam as two cars had had a coming together. It seems that when there is an accident in Costa Rica, no one is in a hurry to move them, I couldn't even see where they were damaged but the traffic jam behind them was unbelievable. We found out later (by asking the hostel owner) that if there is any disagreement on who's fault it was, they have to wait for the police to make a report or wait until the insurance company send someone to make a report before they can move the cars. This can take hours! One thing we have noticed in Costa Rica is that they don't sit on their horns like other Latin American countries do, they just back up and find another way round. That includes, 6 buses, 2 lorries and several cars that had to back up from todays little scuff. From there we walked up to Parque Nacional and then down the hill past the Museo Nacional to the Tracopa bus station to find out about tickets to Panama. We were in for a bit of a shock as the tickets were $20 each, so we thought we'd check any alternatives before buying them. From there we walked back to the cathedral and had lunch in the square opposite, enjoying a sandwich and a watermelon, strawberry and lemon juice drink bought from a juice bar round the corner. After lunch we headed back to the hostel but only made it as far as the Metropolitan park when the heavens opened with an impressive thunder and lightning storm. Luckly we made it to shelter in time along with 4 mounted police including their horses just as we saw the rain coming our way. It was quite cool to watch the rain assend from across the road, it gave us time to reach cover before it got to us. Once back at the hostel, we did a bit of research on the buses and found that it wasn't too badly priced and would go back tomorrow to book them. As we were going to be crossing into Panama soon, we thought we'd better get a flight out booked as we'd heard that it's a requirement to enter the country. So we spent the next few hours searching, only stopping to get some groceries for dinner, then putting some washing on and then finally booking flights. Cat worked very hard at it and managed to get the cost down a bit by splitting the flights. One of the company's is a bit like Ryanair and charges for everything, including overhead storage as well as the checked in bags. To make it worse, if your bag is over 18kgs you have to pay an over weight fee of $25! So what we're going to do is wear what we can and get the weight down on one of the bags as one of them will have to be "over weight". After that nightmare was concluded we took it easy for the rest of the evening until it was time for bed.

Sat 5th May.

Got up at 7.45am as we couldn't seem to lie-in any longer, had breakfast and then got our bags ready as we had to move rooms. As it was still early, we left our bags in our room and the owners would move them when our beds were ready to move into while we went to the bus station. We walked through the park (that was filled with people playing football) and down to the bus station via the cemetery. Some of the headstones are rather grand. Once at the bus station we booked our ticket for the morning and then headed back into the centre to enjoy another fruit drink. We then walked back via the Art Museum on the edge of the park to have a look round. It's quite a nice looking building and on the second floor there is a lovely wooden carved wall on all four sides. There is also a tower on top and a lovely view of the garden and the park. We then walked back through the park and stopped at the Scotia Bank on the corner as there was a fund raising event going on with all the emergency services showing their wares including a helicopter that flew in for some attention. While the police were there they made themselves useful, one officer kept the kids (and Cat) amused making balloon animals. He even made an impressive Road Runner. It's amazing what they teach at the police academy these days! After all that excitement, we walked back to the hostel to check on our new room and have lunch in the garden. As happens most days in Costa Rica, the heavens opened and we sat and watched the rain from the shelter of the covered terrace. Around 5pm I started on dinner which I was going to be roast carrots and potatoes in the oven, but the owner had a quicker way. He suggested putting the oil in a frying pan and covering it with a lid. Open to suggestion I gave this a whirl and they turned out pretty good in half the time which complemented our lamb chops lovely. We then thought it best to check on our washing and get it packed, but due to the heavy rain some of it got soaked! Bugger, how are going to pack now. So, we sorted through the dry stuff and hung back out the wet and hoped it would dry in time for the morning. We then relaxed, chatting with an Irish couple until 10pm and got an early night.

Sun 6th May.

Got up at 5.45am grabbed our gear out of the room, bagged our wet laundry seperately (mainly Cat's underwear), had breakfast and then caught a cab to the bus station. Bang on 7.30am, we boarded the bus and left the city heading south to Panama.
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